1. Consistency - Spending time in the gym doesn't mean anything if you are inconsistent. Once you lay out a plan stick to it. If you want to get big that bad, then you need to give a little dedication and stick to what you have planned. Missing a workout can throw you all off track and it often times leads to a period of absence from the gym. Many times I have missed one workout and not come back for a week or two. If you are to grow, you must be consistent in your training or you will be rowing a boat without any paddles.
2. Sleep - When trying to put on mass, sleep is crucial. As you probably have heard, your muscles do no growing in the gym. While you are in the gym, you are ripping your muscles apart and breaking them down. It is only while you rest that your muscles repair themselves and grow larger and stronger. To be sure that your muscles are getting the most out of your workouts try to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. This will help your muscles recover quicker from the onslaught you have put them through at the gym earlier in the day. The quicker your muscles recuperate, the quicker you can work them out again. Also getting the right amount of sleep can help avoid the common mistake (especially for beginners) of overtraining. Your workouts will be more focused, more intense, and more beneficial. Truly these benefits are a great bargain for doing something that requires such little energy to do. So get your sleep!
3. Eat Big - If you want to get big, you have to eat big. It is a sentence you have most likely heard before. But what exactly does "Eat Big" mean? When you hear the words eat big, it means that you want to have an excess of calories that you do not burn off in the course of a day. If you normally eat 1,500 calories a day and you remain the same weight, that is roughly your maintenance level of calories. To put on weight, you need to take in more than you burn off so eat more than 1,500 calories. Also, a critical aspect of your diet is the amount of protein you take in. A good rule of thumb is to take in approximately one gram of protein for every pound that you weigh. Protein is what muscle is made of. If you didn't have protein, you wouldn't have muscle. That is why it is not surprising that good sources of proteins are meats. They are the muscle of an animal and very high in protein. Other foods that can help you meet your protein needs are eggs, milk (whole milk if you really want to put on some mass), lean red meats such as beef, steaks and all types of fish (tuna fish is cheap and provides about 32 grams of protein per can.) If you want to really get hardcore about it, space your meals out into 6 or 7 smaller meals throughout the day eating on average every 2.5-3 hours apart!
4. Utilize your 30 minute window - You may have heard of your 30 minute window of golden opportunity following a workout. Utilizing this period is perhaps one of the best and most beneficial things you can do, especially when putting on size. What is the 30 minute window? Well it actually lasts anywhere from 30-90 minutes. It is the directly after you finish your workout. After you get done tearing your muscles apart and breaking them down, they are looking to take in anything and everything that they can possibly suck up to help them start to repair. To take advantage of this, you want to give them what they need to grow. To do this, you should feed them the protein that they need to repair and grow bigger and stronger for your next workout. But how do you assure that your protein is getting to the muscles and being used efficiently. To do this, you have to know how to manipulate your insulin. When your insulin levels are high, everything you take in is more efficiently "shuttled" directly into your cells for absorption. This is EXACTLY what you want to happen to your protein. So how do you raise your insulin level slightly to get the most of your protein? Well it is actually very simple. To do this you want to take in a full spectrum (low glycemic and high glycemic) of both simple and complex carbohydrates. For example, perhaps drink a sports drink like Gatorade (which also provides and replenishes lost electrolytes lost during intense training.) This is would be an example of your simple carbohydrates. Then you might want to eat something like the classic potatoes and meat. Whatever combination of protein and carbohydrates that you eat, try to make sure it's a 3:1 ratio respectively of carbohydrates to protein. For example take in 60 grams of carbohydrates and 20 grams of protein. That would be a 3:1 ration. The carbohydrates will raise your insulin level and the protein will be shuttled into your tired and taxed muscles. Also, if you will be taking a protein drink, try to use whey protein because it is the most rapidly absorbed. Don't miss out on your golden opportunity! It counts!
5. Lift Heavy: To gain mass, you must lift heavy! However, NEVER sacrifice good form for a higher poundage. Good form comes first, heavy poundages come second. Remember, what is heavy differs from person to person. So if 10 pounds is what's heavy to you, then you use that weight. When you see the words heavy poundage, it does not automatically mean 300 lbs. Heavy poundage as according to what YOU (not the guy next to you whose been bodybuilding for 15 years.) When putting on mass it is important that you keep your rep range anywhere from 6-12, depending on what works best for you. Anywhere over twelve and you are going for more definition than mass (in general). What works best for most people is a pyramided scheme that looks something like the following: On your first set, use a weight that will allow you to reach failure at twelve reps, second set 10 reps and third set 8 reps. That works well with most people but adjust it to see what works best for you!
6. Compound Basic Movements - To get big, it is key that you start each mass gaining workout out with a compound and basic movement. Compound movements allow you to move heavy weight. The three main and most common power movements are bench press, squats and deadlifts. For example. To start out your chest workout, you would want to start out with your compound movement, the Bench Press! It is a compound movement because you are not isolating the muscle you are working. Instead you are using multiple muscles to put a heavier work load on the muscle you are trying to work. Using these basic movements will thicken you up and allow you to put on mass in no time!
7. Keep a log and set goals: Keeping a log is one of the best things you can do for your training. It can serve as a motivational tool in the future, allow you to break through plateaus and help you analyze your workouts so that you can see what works, what doesn't and what you should and shouldn't be doing. Also, setting goals is of prime importance. Set small goals and do whatever you have to in order to attain them. Let nothing stop you because only you, can make YOU get BIGGER!!!